Odd socks in support of anti-bullying charity

A collection of colourful odd socks was worn by staff and students at Pool Academy on the last day of anti-bullying week.

Mismatched garments were worn in exchange for a £1 donation to the Anti-Bullying Alliance. Teachers, who usually look smart and coordinated, also joined in to show their support.

As well as raising money and awareness for the charity the idea behind the day was to allow children to express themselves and celebrate their individuality.

Rachel Facey, Pool Academy SENDCo, said: "It was great to see so many staff and students arrive at school with odd socks last week in support of the Anti-Bullying Alliance charity.

"It was a fun fundraising idea and we are keen to support the charity again next year with the initiative.

"We at Pool Academy are working to create a culture of zero tolerance towards bullying.

"We spent a lot of time during the national anti-bullying week educating our students on what is bullying and how to try and combat it."

The total money collected is still being counted up but it is hoped more than £100 will be raised.

The odd sock day was held on the last day of anti-bullying week. The week-long national event was created to promote the theme ‘choose respect’. Over the five days teachers created activities for students to take part in during their tutor times. The school’s ‘red button’ - an app installed on iPad to report incidents – was also promoted. Students also complete surveys offering views on what they think bullying is and how they think it should be dealt with.

Students break from timetable for extra learning

Students were given a break from their regular timetable to make way for extra learning and fitness classes.


Pool Academy staff held the first PSHE day of the academic year on Friday. It saw students being given a range of tasks to complete which are not usually found on the timetable. There was also a trip organised for Year 8 to visit Cornwall College to help them start thinking about GCSEs and their futures.

In the morning those staying at Pool Academy were set a £20 challenge where they had to dream up ideas to try and double or quadruple their money. The resourceful children created a lot of fun and different ideas.


Kieran, Year 7, had the idea to buy tennis balls and invite people to pay £1 to try and throw them into a net to win a prize - but they would have to do it whilst bouncing on a trampoline.

Another student said her group’s plan was called ‘Seven Ball Ping Pong’.

She said: “There will be cups worth different points and you have to throw the ping pong balls into them.”

Meanwhile another class was taking part in a fitness test which included throwing, jumping and sit ups.

Other fitness sessions included an inter-tutor rounder’s match and learning about the principles of training.


During the afternoon there were team building sessions where students were set a number of team building tasks. One problem solving activity asked for groups to choose from a list of items what they would need if they were stuck on a desert island.

Alastair Durant, Head of Year 8, organised the day.

He said: “We at Pool Academy believe PSHE days are an important part of the school term. It is refreshing to be able to take a day’s break from our regular timetable.

“It was also great to work with Cornwall College to give all students in Year 8 a fantastic day to research different careers on offer to them.”

Classroom of cakes for Children in Need

Students at Pool Academy attempted to fill a classroom full of delicious looking cakes to help raise cash for Children in Need.


Members of a Year 7 tutor group worked together to think up some fundraising ideas for the well-known BBC charity. They decided to hold a bake sale on Friday as well as run a ‘guess the name of the teddy bear’ and ‘how many sweets in the jar?’ competitions.

During break time and lunch time tables full of colourful cakes, mince pies and doughnuts were plated up for other students to buy a sweet treat for 50p a go.

Chris Jadav, a teacher at Pool Academy, said: "All the members of my Year 7 tutor group got together to plan a fundraising event and we decided on a bake sale. Everyone got involved. Some brought in cakes and others helped to sell and eat them too.


"Some others went round with a teddy bear and a collection jar.

"This is the first time we have held a fundraising event as a class and I think it went really well.

"We are still counting up how much we have raised and are excited to have been able to help support BBC Children in Need."

Nicki Carter, head of Year  7 at Pool Academy, said: “I am exceptionally proud of the Year 7 students who have contributed to the bake sale for Children in Need.  It has been fantastic to see the new Year 7 students settle into Pool Academy and I am impressed that they are already making a really positive impact in our community and the wider one.”

A school non-uniform day, which was held on Friday ahead of the start of the official charity week, raised £544.80.

Pool Academy is getting a little bit hairier

Pool Academy is getting a little bit hairier as teachers gang together to support Movember.

Clean-shaven male teachers are surprising their students with stubble as they do their bit for charity.


Dene Williams, teacher at Pool Academy, started the idea and is now encouraging as many people as possible to join him by growing facial hair.

So far teachers Julian Hosking, Tom Ford and Mark Turner have agreed to take part with Mr Williams.

Mr Williams said: “We have a team of handlebar growers who are raising awareness of some of the causes of men dying too young.

“We’re raising funds for men's health.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a Mo Bro or a Mo Sista, Movember is for everyone. I’m supporting the Movember Foundation because they’re tackling some of the most significant health issues faced by men.”

The teachers are hoping to raise as much money as possible and are asking people wanting to donate to visit https://moteam.co/pool-academy-mo-bro-s?mc=11

Loneliness project grows after praise

Pool Academy’s Head Boy and Head Girl’s loneliness project is growing to include all generations after it was praised by officials recently.

Holly, Year 11, attended the Camborne, Pool, Illogan and Redruth Network Panel Meeting this week to feed back to councillors and other officials about the loneliness project.


She and Head Boy Matthew Daddow have led the school Prefects in activities to help give the older generation a bit of company. This included visiting a care home and planning an art workshop at the Academy’s art gallery.

Holly said: “I gave a presentation on Tuesday night to the meeting with updates about the loneliness project. There were lots of people at the meeting. We had some people offer their help with the project and some asked questions about it. They were very happy with what we are doing and very positive.

“We have some ideas to develop the project further.”

She said they were now working with Mr Hamblin, from Pool Academy, on a Living Together, Learning Together initiative. She said whilst meeting with the older generation it became clear it was not just the older generation but all generations that get lonely. She is now working with Matthew to try and develop their project to include all ages.

She said: “We are going to carry out a student survey to do with loneliness and isolation in our generation.

“We want to start working on the next steps of the project this term and the next.

“We are still enjoying working on this.”

Woodland Trust help to spruce up Pool Academy’s grounds

The Woodland Trust have given more than 100 saplings to Pool Academy to help spruce up its beautiful grounds.

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The secondary school recently installed new fences around its premises and thanks to the conservation charity there will soon be new hedges growing through them.

The Trust delivered its schools’ tree pack, which includes Hawthorne, Hazel, Elder, Downy Birch, Dog Rose and Dog wood, to the academy on Wednesday.

Chris Harper, groundsman at Pool Academy, has planted them in some soft soil while he works out their final locations.

He said: “We have a few different types of trees and I will have to decide now what will go where.

“Some of them will go where the new fence is. It will make it look better and will soften it up a bit. It will be nicer than just having a fence.”

He also plans to plant some near the main reception and some next to the silver birch tree, by the art gallery, which was given to the school by MP George Eustice as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

The Woodland Trust offer a number of different schools’ tree packs including Hedges, Year-round colour, Copse and Wild harvest.

The academy had to apply for the greenery and when the application was accepted it was also awarded two Green Tree Schools Award points.

Schools are given points after completing environmental activities. When the points are added up the schools involved are awarded bronze, silver and gold levels. The top award is platinum.

Creative students wow teachers

Talented students have wowed teachers with their creative artwork for this year’s Christmas card competition.

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Natalie Ellis, art teacher at Pool Academy, organised the competition to find an amazing illustration for a festive card that the school can send out to well-wishers.

All year groups were invited to draw, paint or photograph a design and a number of colourful pieces were entered.

This is the third year Mrs Ellis has run the competition but said she was impressed by the standard of entries this year.

Because the designs were so good Claire Meakin, Principal, has decided she will have to pick a winner from Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 and 10. The three winners will receive five copies of the card along with an art pack from Turners Art supplies.

All entries will be given achievement points for their efforts. 

Miss Meakin said: “It will be an incredibly hard job to pick out the best card designs out of all those who had entered.

“The cards were so colourful and I was proud to see what talented artists we have in this school.

“Well done everyone and watch this space to see who wins.”

Students win prizes at hospitality and tourism day

A group of students visited Newquay recently to take part in a hospitality and tourism day in one of the town’s landmark hotels.

The Year 10 students visited the Headland Hotel to take part in the event which was being run by Springboard with Truro and Penwith College and Hospitality Table Cornwall.


The students arrived at around 9.30am before a key note speech from JJ Goodman for 10 minutes.

During the rest of the day there were nine different workshops for students to choose from including sensory tasting, cake decorating and ‘shaking a fruit punch’.

Ash, from Year 10, was handed a special award and a £50 voucher for showing enthusiasm while housekeeping.

Grace Pellow-Firth won an award and a cook book for her sensory abilities detecting flavours. 

Sam Strana, teacher at Pool Academy, said the students enjoyed the workshops they took part in.

She said: “They enjoyed the mocktail making session and the spa where they got to massage each other’s arms.”

The day finished at 3.45pm after the prize giving ceremony and all participants were handed a goody bag to go home with.

Claire Meakin, Principal at Pool Academy, said: “Thank you to Sam Strana for taking students to the hospitality conference. It was an excellent experience and students were a credit to the school.”

Student raises more than £1,000 at fashion show

A student has raised more than £1,000 after arranging a fashion show to help fund her trip to Tanzania.

Kind-hearted students from Pool Academy are planning to travel to Tanzania next year to help others less fortunate than themselves.


The trip, planned for July 2019, will cost thousands of pounds and students are carrying out a number of fundraising ideas to help them afford the trip.

One innovative student decided to hold a ladies’ fashion show and pop-up shop at Heathcoat social club on Friday November 9th.

The packed-out event saw more than 120 men and women, but mostly women, attending to see a selection of high street brands including White Stuff, River Island and Topshop on offer to buy.

Ticket sales and a raffle at the event helped her to raise £1,040 towards her trip.

Her mother said she was very proud of her daughter’s efforts in arraigning the event.

She said: “The evening went really, really well and was attended by 127 people.

“The Fashion Show was in two halves with a break at half time for browsing and our raffle.

“Everyone I spoke to on the evening, and afterwards, said how much they enjoyed themselves and they loved the clothing range.”

Vicky Reynolds, from Pool Academy, attended the evening. She said it was very good and there were a lot of clothes on offer including New Look and Marks and Spencer.

Recently members of the Lions International Camborne and Redruth Club heard about the students plans and offered to give an amount of money to them towards the trip.

The group of students hope to travel to East Africa in the summer next year to spend four weeks helping others. They will be going with Camps International to help with local projects such as building classrooms, community centres or protecting wildlife.


Wear odd socks for anti-bullying week

Staff and students are being urged to wear odd socks tomorrow in support of national anti-bullying week this week.


Over the week students have been taking part in activities as part of the national event which wants to promote the theme ‘choose respect’.

Tomorrow students will be asked to deliberately mismatch their socks to highlight the fact children should be allowed to express themselves and celebrate their individuality. They will then make a £1 donation to the Anti-Bullying Alliance. 

During tutor time, until Friday, students will also be learning definitions of bullying and the school’s ‘red button’ - an app installed on iPad to report incidents.

They will also complete surveys offering views on what they think bullying is and how they think it should be dealt with.

Rachel Facey, Pool Academy SENDCo, is keen to promote an anti-bullying environment at the academy.

She said: “Pool Academy has a culture of zero tolerance for any bullying.

“We are very pleased to hear from our students that they are confident that bullying concerns reported through the Red Button system are dealt with quickly and that parents are kept informed.

 “We are using the national anti-bullying week, which is the 12th to 16th November, to reinforce our zero tolerance stance and help our students to feel confident that any unkindness will be dealt with really strongly.

“All of our young people have a right to learn without fear of bullying, and we are 100 percent committed to making this happen.”

Academy kitchen gets a shake up

Students visiting the canteen will soon be given fresh options when the school menu gets a makeover in January.

Chartwells is a company which creates meals for schools, academies, colleges and universities and it will be coming to Pool Academy in January.

As well as creating a whole new menu for students they will also be opening a snack kiosk during snack and lunch times too offering drinks, sandwiches and other items.

The news was announced to members of the Student Leadership Team (SLT) on Thursday last week.

Phil Jones, Head of Academy Services, said: “We have been looking at the way the canteen works. We asked companies around the country to bid to run our catering and the company that won the bid was Chartwells.

“They will be coming in and running our canteen from January.”

He said the company officials have promised to have a look at the menu and listen to some of the requests from students on what to serve up for lunch.

Another change to the way lunchtimes work will be the introduction to a cashless system.

Parents will be given details on how to pay into an account specifically for meals. Students will then ‘pay’ by providing their finger print.

Mr Jones said this would end the worry of people forgetting their lunch money.

After being shown an example menu from Chartwells one student said: “My mouth is watering. I like that menu.”

Another added: “Most of the menu is good.”

Achievement points shop could be open soon

Plans to offer prizes in exchange for achievement points have been welcomed by excited members of the Student Leadership Team.

Jamie Best, Pool Academy teacher, is organising an Achievement Points shop with an array of prizes including books, footballs, gift cards and stationary.

The idea of the shop is that a variety of different gifts can be ‘bought’ by students using their achievement points.  The more expensive the prize the more points a student will have to earn.

Mr Best said: “I am proud to be able to say students will be able to spend their points on things from the Achievement points shop. The more things are worth the more points they’ll need to get to have them.

“This should be happening in the next week or so.”

Mr Best asked students to offer more ideas for what kind of prizes they would like to see in the shop. Ideas included iTunes vouchers and a ‘one time only jump the queue’ card.

Mr Best asked for more ideas to be emailed to him.

Students invited to take part in future ski trip

Students are being urged to sign up to the Academy’s skiing trip after a similar successful adventure earlier this year.

Will McKenzie, teacher at Pool Academy, is organising the week planned to take place in the Ziller Valley, Mayrhofen in Tyrol.

He is working with Skiteam4, an organisation which provides school ski tours to different resorts across Europe and North America.

Students taking part will travel by air to Austria. During the trip students will have four hours of ski instruction from qualified ski instructors per day for the six days away.

Mr McKenzie said: “Accommodation will be at the family run Sidan Hotel which is perfectly located 150 meters from the gondola lift linking into 136 km of skiing.

“The hotel has great facilities including a pizzeria and a cellar games room which has plenty of seating and space so students can chill out. They can also play table tennis and table football and there is a DVD player for a film night.

“There will also be other evening activities which are likely to include swimming and ice skating.”

Anyone wishing to take part in the trip will need a valid passport.

Earlier this year the group travelled to Santa Caterina, in the Valfurva Valley, near Bormio in Italy.

The end of the week culminated in a slalom race down the slopes with medal presentations from the Ski instructors later in the day.

Please contact Mr McKenzie if you are interested in taking part.

College trip on PSHE day

Students have been invited to visit a nearby college to think about GCSEs and their future careers.

This Friday will be the first PSHE day of this academic year and members of Year 8 will be using it to go to Camborne College.

Students will walk to the Opie Building Lecture theatre ready to take part in a welcome talk at 9am. Here they will learn about the Cornwall College Group, further education and GCSE options. There will also be a coach to the Duchy Rosewarne site for those interested in working with animals.

Those on either site will be given tours and spoke to about college life. They will return to Pool Academy by 1pm.

Mr Durant, from Pool Academy, said: “Students will be lectured on what employers and colleges will expect from students’ application forms.

“The college are working with us to make sure that all students at Pool have the best career plans set in place for the future.”

MP delivers tree on queen’s behalf

Pool Academy staff were delighted to be given a sapling tree after MP George Eustice chose them to be part of a national initiative.


It was given to them as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, a network of forest conservation initiatives to mark Her Majesty's lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

Five saplings were sent to Mr Eustice MP thanks to a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV.In April the television channel aired a documentary called The Queen’s Green Planet. It showed her project to bring together her commitment to the Commonwealth and her love of trees.

Mr Eustice chose four secondary schools in Cornwall, including Pool Academy and Cornwall College, to send trees to.

George Eustice said: “Trees play a vital role in protecting both us and the environment by reducing greenhouse gasses

and absorbing pollutants from the air. In turn, we must do our bit to make sure our woodlands and green spaces continue to flourish. That is why I was glad that children from Pool Academy and schools across the constituency came together to plant these trees and take part in the Queens Commonwealth Canopy Project. I hope that the schools will be able to enjoy the trees that they have planted for years to come.”

Lisette Neesham, Pool Academy’s Vice Principal, said: “We were really pleased to be chosen to receive the donation of a tree.

“We are very proud of the school grounds at Pool Academy and we look forward to planting the tree somewhere special.”

Mr Eustice MP was one of 500 other MPs given trees to plant.

People invited to take part in The Curly Hair Project

A Pool Academy teacher is inviting people to get involved with an event by The Curly Hair Project later this month.

Rachel Facey, SENDCO at the academy, has sent out information about the event which has been designed for autistic adults, parents and carers or anyone working with autistic adults or autistic children.

It will take place at Exeter Community Centre on Saturday, November 17, and will incorporate topics including anxiety, social energy, sensory processing and emotions.

A poster advertising the event reads: “This event will equip you with a strong, all round knowledge of autism. We use a holistic approach - any strategy implemented is likely to have a significant and beneficial impact on the individual’s life as a whole. With five different streams to choose from attendees can select the material that is most relevant to them.”

The Curly Hair Project (CHP) is an award-winning social enterprise founded by autistic author and entrepreneur Alis Rowe. It aims to help those with autism learn to understand themselves and their needs and be able to self-manage. The project work is about acceptance, understanding and empathy for different world experiences.

The event in Exeter will be the first of a new series on Autism Learning Days and Mental Health Days.

For more information or to attend the event visit www.thegirlwiththecurlyhair.co.uk/events


Gamers needed for national competition

Gamers are being called on to help Pool Academy succeed in a national Overwatch competition.

Tim Bareham, Head of Faculty for Science, Computing and DT, is looking for teams of three from Year 8 to 11 to take part in the Esports Tournament run by Digital Schoolhouse.

The start date for the competition is very soon and Mr Bareham will set aside time for practice during lunch.

To start with students will be battling it out against each other using the computer game Overwatch. The winning team will be the ones who don’t lose their lives in the virtual world.

The top team could be taken to Bristol in March to take part in the regional finals.

Tim Bareham, IT teacher, said: “It would be great to see as many students as possible sign up to take part in the competition. We entered last year and it would be great if we got on even further than last time.

“If we are successful we could bring a team to compete others at a regional qualifiers venue.

Mr Bareham believes the best way to win the games is good team work.

“The team that wins overall will be the team that plays best together,” he added.

The Esports tournament has been created to introduce students to careers education for the video games industry.

The tournament will be split into three heats.  The regional qualifiers event will take place in March 2019 in various locations across the UK. Each school or college will be allocated to their nearest venue by Digital Schoolhouse. 

At the event there will be video games industry representatives walking around while people compete.

 Each qualifier will be streamed live on Twitch, which live streams videos.

The tournament ends in April 2019 with a grand final in London.

Generous community group offer to help part fund trip

A generous community group has offered to help contribute towards students planning to visit Tanzania.

Kind-hearted students from Pool Academy are planning to travel to Tanzania next year to help others less fortunate than themselves.

They are taking part in a number of fundraising initiatives to raise the thousands of pounds needed to get them there.

Lions International Camborne and Redruth Club member Peter Cale heard about the trip and said the club was in a position to help contribute towards costs.

He said: “We have made an offer to help and provide some of the funding towards their trip and we would like to meet them and discuss this.”

He said it would be lovely to receive a letter from the students to hear about plans for the trip. He suggested some of the students may want to speak to the Lions at one of their meetings.

One student from Pool Academy is holding a Fashion Show and Pop-up Show tomorrow (FRIDAY) at Heathcoat Social club, in Pool, from 7pm. Tickets for the event cost £5 and there will also be a charity raffle.

The group of students hope to travel to East Africa in July next year to spend four weeks helping others. They will be going with Camps International to help with local projects such as building classrooms, community centres or protecting wildlife.


School cake competition has festive theme

Students are being urged to don their chef hats to create the best Christmas themed cake.

Jamie Best has launched the competition and is looking forward to seeing scores of people, including staff, taking part.

The Bake Off may have Prue Leith as a judge but here at Pool Academy it will be none other than Principal Claire Meakin.

Students entering will be in with the chance of earning valuable achievement points for their house.

The deadline is December 19, just over a month away, so people have plenty of time to dream up the winning creation. They will have to bring in the cakes already baked on that date for judging.

Mr Best said: “We want imaginative and yummy cakes to get us all excited for Christmas.

“We hope staff will be entering as well as students.

“The competition will be judged my Miss Meakin. I wonder if she will be more tempted to eat the cakes than just judge them by appearance?

“We will be selling them in a cake sale. The money raised will contribute to the Year 11 prom fund.”

The evening is organised each year for students to celebrate the end of school and say goodbye to friends and teachers.

The last Prom, held in July, saw students offered three course meal disco.  They dressed in formal wear and prom dresses and were able to take advantage of a photo booth which took unlimited photos all evening.


Hair today, gone to charity

A kind-hearted staff member from Pool Academy decided to donate her lopped off locks to charity after going for the chop recently.

 Before her long locks were cut

Before her long locks were cut

Yasmin England usually trims her hair every six weeks but on this occasion she decided to go a little shorter.

But what was supposed to be a cut of only a few inches turned into a lengthy seven inches so that she could send it off to charity Little Princess Trust.

The charity collects hair to give real hair wigs, for free, to children in the UK who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment.

 The hair being sent to the charity

The hair being sent to the charity

Yasmin said: “I wanted to get my hair cut shorter and the hairdresser said if I had seven inches off then it would be enough to donate to the charity.

“It is a good charity and I like what they do so I agreed to get it that bit shorter to help the charity.

 After the cut

After the cut

“It took me about two years to get it down to the length it was and I will probably grow it that long again and donate more hair to the charity when it is long enough.

“It feels strange to have it this short but it is good as it reminds me how I have helped others.

“Everyone in the hair dressers said it was amazing that I had done it.”